Monthly Archive for April, 2009

Visualizations of Habit and Routine

Lately I’ve become interested in the design of visualizations that draw out patterns in habit & routine. To explain what I mean, here are a bunch of nice examples…

Let’s start with a visualization of a twitter user’s posting habits from

This simple diagram of a baby’s sleep times comes from Trixie Tracker:
Simple but effective! Thanks to Nathan’s flowingdata for these two examples. (See also a wonderful visualization of the stabilization of a baby’s sleep patterns in Winfree “The Timing of Biological Clocks” Page 31, also shown in Card et al “Information Visualization…” Page 5/6).

It seems that some form of heatmap is the most common means of representing habitual behaviours – see e.g., Andrienko et al for a visualization of traffic densities around Milan (red is lots of traffic):
This picture of hotel visitation patterns (Weaver et al) shows the number of visitors over a weekly timescale:
I like the summary at the bottom and right of the main area showing aggregated trends.

Nathan Eagle & Alex Pentland’s paper on “Eigenbehaviours” differentiates various routine patterns from a dataset & presents them clearly:
This reminds me of Wijk & Selow’s classic paper too.

Does anyone have any suggestions on other visualizations of habits and routines?